Special Correspondent

KOCHI: Union Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge said on Sunday that a sub-committee on unorganised labour would be constituted shortly.

Addressing the 29th plenary session of INTUC here, he said the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 was enacted to provide social security to the workers in the unorganised sector.

The Minister said a national employment policy was being formulated. Various new policies have been formulated.

These include the National Skill Development Policy which aims at empowering all individuals through improved skills, knowledge and internationally recognised qualifications. The national policy on safety, health and environment at workplace seeks to provide general guidelines for all stakeholders such as governments, inspection authorities, employers, research and development institutions.

Vocational training with a view to creating a world class skilled labour force is being given high priority. Training courses are being offered through a network of 6,906 industrial training institutes and industrial training centres, having a total of 9.54 lakh seats.

Upgrading of 400 ITIs through World Bank assistance and 100 ITIs from domestic resources is under way. Besides, 1,396 ITIs are being upgraded into centres of excellence in specific trade and skills. The Ministry has developed demand-driven training courses based on modular employment skills framework for skill development for the school dropouts and existing workers.

The Ministry is alive to the problems being faced by workers due to economic slowdown. The Labour Bureau is conducting quarterly surveys to assess its impact on job loss.

He said the wage ceiling under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, was raised. Ceiling and eligibility limit under the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, were enhanced. The contract workers engaged in construction activities have also been covered.

A scheme called Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) to provide health cover to unorganised BPL workers has been made operational with effect from April 1 last year. Under the scheme, a Smart Card is being issued to each beneficiary and covers a family of five persons facilitating cashless transactions up to Rs.30,000 per annum. The government has also approved the inclusion of maternity benefit under the scheme.

Child labour

Under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, employment of children working as domestic servants and in tea shops and dhabas has been prohibited. A protocol on prevention, rescue, repatriation and rehabilitation of migrant and trafficked child labour has been developed.